Super Best Audio Friends

The evolution of the original irreverent and irrelevant and non-authoritative site for headphone measurements, i.e. frequency response graphs, CSD waterfall plots, subjective gear reviews. Too objective for subjectivists; too subjective for objectivists

No thread on these yet? They released earlier this month as a successor to the original ETA Mini Open.

I got a pair and was too lazy to write anything so I did a video review. This is my first and hopefully last video review of anything ever. However, I am attaching this video and my resume to the content moderation team. I hope one day I can graduate to reviewing ZMFs and the Susvara 2.0

Hi everybody! As some of you may know, we started up a local discord community centered around rebuilding the bustling Bay Area community that was before the pandemic. We have been having monthly mini meets and it's time we leveled up. We are announcing our first big meet. This will be open to everyone but it will be capacity limited to 100 200 attendees. As such, we have created an eventbrite to keep that limitation in mind (but it is entirely free). Also, we want to make sure this event is community driven. We want our community to be able to come out and share their gear and be able to try other gear on their setups. Because of limited table space, we will be taking interested parties' details and then selecting who will be able to bring in their setups. This will be handled by DM'ing Nick or Vince in the discord channel (link below). That being said, if you have headphones or IEMs (or even DAPs) that are portable, feel free to bring those with you and carry those around to test out all the cool stuff that will be there. So here are the details:

Important notes:
  1. You will need to present your ticket at the table and receive a name tag. This ensures that we are keeping within the capacity limitations of the venue.
  2. If you are selected to bring your own setup, please arrive 2 hours before the event to set up. There will also be 2 hours after the event is over to break down and pack up.
  3. There might be food but this is still being worked out.
  4. Gear list to come.
We are sponsored by Schiit Audio!!! Please thank them for helping us put together this meet and be able to enjoy this bigger venue and the space needed to bring more of us together! Also for sending us gear to try out! With all the new stuff they just announced, man this is going to be a good one!
Listening evaluation picture:
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Zen Taboo mk4 inputs switched between Holo Spring 2 KTE Bal & SE outputs. Most listening evaluation with gain set to High, crossfeed bypassed, amp volume set for 0 dB gain with Goldpoint SA2X and SA2 external stepped attenuators employed to set level. There are plenty of impressions threads on the forum where more detailed and nuanced thoughts about the various components are discussed. For my preferences, either I like how a system renders music or I don’t.

Notable highlights:
Due to some interesting attributes of this amp I will provide additional commentary and interpretation from which I would normally refrain.

Decware Zen Taboo tonality has always impressed me during listening sessions at various meets. Typically with HD800 headphones and yggdrasil DAC. Meet conditions are often burdened with higher ambient room noise than my dedicated lab listening environment. With the opportunity to hear this wonderful amp in my own setting, the tonality continued to impress.
Let's start with measurements first. BTW, I really love the timbre** of the Supermoon. More later...
They're basically a kit with MKII headband, MKIII drivers, various dampening materials, two sets of ear pads, and two cables. One of the fellas here posted an ebay link of these open box kits from the UK ,and they accepted my offer of $100 shipped. Everything in the pic below was included, the sticker packs as well, and they appeared to be brand new. The instructions have an English expanation of the various dampeners and mods. Since these are the MKIII drivers with the little window on the back side dampening material, I was surprised to see a tiny piece of foam that can be plugged into that spot that "dampens lower frequency". I haven't tried that option yet though.


All in all a fun mini project for dirt cheap that took me back to the roots of my addiction to this hobby. Here are a few quick raw measurements I took. The drivers are matched quite well, with a slight leak probably being the culprit of the different low end between channels. Also during a frequency sweep I could hear the Right driver slightly flutter down low and it shows up in the distortion plot as significantly higher down there than the Left.
Been keeping my thoughts to myself. I've had a few PMs. Let's discuss with those who got them.

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P.S. Or just ask me questions. (I've already traded notes with other members).
I've rarely liked DACs based on ESS chips. The very few exceptions have been DACs from the handful "Sabre-whisperers": LH Labs (ugh), Matrix X-Sabre (OG and Pro), MOTU, and now Schiit. In general, I've found ESS DACs unlistenable in the highs with excess "digititus" (what I would describe as glare, stridency, etch, harshness) and fake macro-detail along with indistinct bass texture and zero depth to instruments in the soundstage (although soundstage placement was often deep). A Sabre based DAC would be warm, lean, neutral, but it was always the horrible highs that annoyed me. Sometimes these headache inducing effects would be immediate, other times, it would take maybe a minute.


What piqued my interest in the Topping D10s were three things: (1) the TOTL low power ES9038Q2M chip - of which some feel does sound less "Sabrey" than with past chips; (2) the dirt-cheap price - usually entry level Topping has been more expensive that I would have liked considering the China labor, access to chip parts, and crap generic casework, despite the LED panel displays); (3) rollable opamp - here I'm figuring if they are using a lean or bright sounding opamp, I would swap to something less bright.
Meet was hella fun. Got to meet a lot of great folks from Schiit. I’ll do a write-up later when I get home.

There has been talk of Abbas DACs around here for some time, including IIRC a short personal loaner tour, but it's all scattered as isolated posts in other threads. As @Ksorota has one for sale right now, and other units have circulated within our community, I felt it was worth having a place to discuss them.

Magni has been around for 10 years. It has served as an entry point into the headphone hi-fi hobby for quite some time. Although many of us have moved on to other gear and have suggested even other gear, eg. Vali ams (1, 2, 2+, +), Magni still serves as this low cost small form factor solid state amp to use with an external DAC, and really the start of the small Schiit stack with the Modi

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Tldr; and improvement over all the other Magni’s from the past, but not a Piety killer

Now right when the Magni + was released, there was already hype surrounding the Magni Piety through NITSCH’s limited run. And anyone who purchased a Piety can rest assured that the + I do not think is a Piety killer. However, I do think it is an improvement from all the other Magni’s, especially over Magni 2.
This thread's intention is to gather in one repository, any member who wants to contribute their knowledge, time and experience in creating addictively listenable, superbly ratio'd price : performance setups.

The rules are:
  • Only pieces of gear that have a high cost : performance ratio, or a paragraph on why a more expensive piece is better in a certain case
  • Synergy. is. important.
  • Aimed at maximum availability, even promoting the Piety (and I am guilty of this in my pf post leading up to this thread!) is discouraged because it is, as of right now, OOP. Esoteric gear is fine, so long as it's gettable
  • Allow for personal taste to guide your decision-making, but please explain why gear fits together synergistically, bias is fine so long as it serves a purpose (for instance, off the top of my head, @rhythmdevils, please tell us why your modded orthos are a great deal if you'd like, @purrin please provide perspective on why under-$500 Grados kick ass, @Merrick this is right up your alley, having owned gear in the multiple kilobuck range still but love a Fulla 2, tell us why it's amazing, @loadexfa—being bourgie isn't bad if you can get a great deal on it! and so on)
  • Total pricing should be under $2K, but if we can get even more realistically "budget" in the around-or-under $1K setups that fucking kick, I'll donate again to SBAF. I love this place, it's full of people who have hands-on familiarity with excellent gear in all price ranges, kindness to share their impressions and understanding, as well as the wisdom to turn that knowledge into insight for the budget space, and I think lurkers and new members alike would agree
A new headphone from Nectar Sound called "The Bee" - a planar.


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